I’m a list person. I make lists for everything. Groceries. Goals. Things that need to be done. Things to buy. Christmas gift ideas. Things to remember to tell my husband when we finally get the chance to chat while he’s stationed somewhere other than at home with me. Weekend projects. Recipes I want to try. (Case in point: I even made a list of the things for which I make lists. Ridiculous.)
One of my favorite kinds of lists are travel lists. Not “packing for travel” lists. Those I despise. Rather, “things to do while we’re visiting x place” lists. Those are my favorite.
I’ve been on an Italy kick lately. Blame it on last Friday’s lasagna. I want to visit Italy. And I already know exactly what I’m going to do once I get there.
Take a gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice. Climb the leaning tower of Pisa. Throw a penny in the Trevi fountain. Have lunch at Trattoria Mario. Visit the Pope at the Vatican. Spend an afternoon on a Sicilian beach. Sample Chiantis in Siena. Make a pilgrimage to the Sistine Chapel. Stand in the center of the Colosseum. Eat pizza in Naples. Bicycle through Tuscany. Linger over gelato at Gelateria Creperia Ghignoni.
And at the top of my list? Drink cappuccino at Caffè Giacosa in Florence. Because I absolutely refuse to visit the birthplace of espresso without having a cappuccino.
In fact, I plan to start every morning of my trip to Italy with a cappuccino and a biscotto.
I don’t foresee any authentic Italian cappuccino in my immediate future. Good thing I have this hazelnut cappuccino biscotti to supplement my morning cup of Starbucks. It’s not Italy, but it’s a pretty good second.
Hazelnut Cappuccino Biscotti
Adapted from December 1992 Gourmet Magazine
Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Makes about 24 cookies
3/4 cup hazelnuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee, cooled
1 tablespoon milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and place rack in center of oven. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes or until their skins start to blister and peel. Remove from oven. Wrap the hazelnuts in a clean towel, and let them “steam” for about 5 minutes. Then, briskly rub the towel back and forth to remove the skins. Let cool and then coarsely chop.
In a small bowl, whisk together the espresso, milk, egg, and vanilla.
In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Gradually add the espresso mixture and beat until a dough forms. Add the chopped nuts and chocolate chips about halfway through.
With floured hands, divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough into a log about 10 inches long by 2 inches wide. Transfer the logs to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart. Bake for about 35 minutes or until firm to the touch (logs will spread during baking). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. On a cutting board, cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for 5 minutes on each side, or until they are pale golden. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.